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7. The "Light" (7.1-7.1.4)
Written by Messiah   
Thursday, 06 July 2006

7.1    Knowledge, Experience & Understanding

Understanding cannot be achieved by just reading a book. For example; my understanding, which of course is the fundament to what’s in this dossier, can of course not be transferred to you just because you read this dossier. Therefore beside the knowledge retrieved by reading, we also have to understand the nature of understanding.

-    “Understanding is what’s left after you have forgotten what you learnt.”

7.1.1    Books are knowledge

Lots of ancient texts have been preserved thru history, but we can not be 100% sure about the level of understanding the writers had - as we interpret the texts using our present understanding. If you take a moment and try to analyze what I just said, then you will understand that it’s not the texts that are important – it’s the level of understanding which is important. A sentence: - “Tiger shoots a birdie”. Well, that didn’t say much. Most of us have basic understanding regarding animal’s abilities to handle weapon and will thereby reject this sentence as rubbish. However, if you are a golfer, then you most likely have specific understanding that will make you interpret this sentence differently. If you haven’t got a clue about the meaning of the sentence, ask a golfer. The type of understanding that he or she possess to be able to interpret this sentence correct is per definition called “metadata”, which could be translated to “Information describing information”. So the golfer is smarter than other’s? Of course not! Understanding has nothing to do with intelligence. Understanding is related to situations. If you are on a tiger safari and hear the sentence, it isn’t likely that it actually is describing a golf event. This was a bad example, but I guess you get the picture. So now you understand that books are knowledge and that the gap between your own level of understanding and the writer’s level of understanding set the degree of difficulty to transfer understanding to you as a reader.

7.1.2    Experience

To be able to turn over knowledge to understanding, one has to learn to trust the knowledge. There are two ways achieve this. Either one get real life experiences that proves the knowledge or one learns to trust it by conviction. Both are common in ordinary life and are related to the things I wrote about in the enlightenment chapter. This also serves as the main difference between rational and irrational understanding. Science is rational as, instead of stating a definitive answer, it states a thesis about the most reliable answer, which is based upon series of dialectic tests. The rational understanding is always willing to evolve as it has learnt how complex the world is and that it is constantly changing. Even static thing changes from an understanding point of view. Irrational understanding, however, would state the answer, without having a rational argumentation about it and by constantly avoid rational tests, conviction regarding the answers correctness will increase. Now, as most fundamental questions regarding faith can’t be tested, a constant window of opportunity is open to take control over irrational minds. So, what does this tell us? Well, you can read a book and get into a situation were the knowledge retrieved from the book matches. Then, if you act as learnt from the book and the reaction is not what you expected, it’s up to you to decide if you trust the book or the situation. The alternative you choose in this scenario, irrational or not, serve as the footprint of understanding retrieved from the book. Thereby you now also understand that experience is knowledge turned over into understanding based on your own choice, which ultimately is the product of what I wrote about in the Enlightenment chapter.

7.1.3    Writing the book is understanding

Up to now we have learnt a lot about the nature of understanding. It’s a unique, precious and powerful thing to possess. Most individuals who feel they are more enlightened than others also feel a natural force of wanting to share it with allies and to use it against opponents. Therefore books, scrolls, texts, carvings, meaningful symbols etc has always been looked upon with fear and respect. It’s easy to understand that, if we burn all books of a kind as well as suppress all discussions of their subjects, the understanding contained in them will be erased from the earth within hundred years, as all humans on earth then have been replaced. Understanding that ends, can you imagine that? Its true, understanding dies out, decreases, changes, evolves, mutates and expands all the time – it’s a part of the nature of mankind. As it does, we align with it in the same way as it does to us – hand in hand, knowledge and understanding, into the inevitable. Therefore, books are important. They preserve understanding into knowledge and tell a lot about our history as well as guide us into our future.

7.1.4    Decent behavior

In our modern world decent behavior that generates experiences which ultimately is turned over into valuable understanding is a complex task. Chaos, order and control are words that often come into mind when discussing world complexity. There seems to be ethic and moral cop’s everywhere claiming the correct ways to think and behave. Why is that? Has it always been like this? Of course not, if we take a look in the rear-view history mirror we will see members of tribes that were dependant on each others to survive. This of course made life less complex. To survive you had no options other that to contribute. Contribute with what? Well, someone had to lead the tribe and ultimately it was that leader who decided what resources that the tribe needed, which answered the question. Of course the skills and status of the leader was important as the number of tribe members grew.

So when does things get complex according to history? Well, we have to find a single big event in our present history loop (remember repeating history) when focus changes from leaders to the masses, because it’s when we, the masses, get dependant on ourselves the complex world begins. As life in history became more peaceful the leaders (the elite) needed some tool that made them special and needed. Values and honor was created. Sworn men and women’s could go in death to protect values and their honor. Have you ever wondered about the tournaments or duels of the middle Ages? Man against man in a battle about honor with life at stake. This was the peak of decent behavior according to me. The heavily armored Knights, the Nobles and the elite stood on the frontier protecting their people. You should know that the battles of the early middle Ages were rather simple. It was politics between societies that had turned into arms, led by the society leaders. The primitive battles ended when one side gave up, which was a simple calculation about how much the values was worth in comparison with the honor. Afterward the battle it was standard behavior to pay the winner to get captured knights back.

The big change comes in battle of Crecy, France in year 1346, when the unbeatable army of about 40.000 French heavily armored knights met the English army of 12.000 men, led by King Edvard III. He used longbows for the first time in a large scale battle, which made him the winner, even if his army was so much smaller than the French. This was the first time in history when an ordinary trained farmer got a weapon that could beat a professional and heavy armored Knight. This successful battle marked the decline of the honorable Knights on the battlefield. In just a few years, battles changes completely. The French Nobles feared the longbows so much that Captures bowmen got their fingers cut off before they were given back to the enemy. The “V” sign commonly referred to as a sign for victory and is believed to come from captured bowmen who have gotten all but two fingers cut off – who proudly showed their two fingers as a “V” for their victorious part in battles. The finally stroke against the noble battlefields happened in the battle of Azincourt, year 1415, when King Henrik V of England challenged the French Prince Karl in a noble duel about the French throne. When Karl does not respond the battle became a fact. This battle became the bloodiest ever. Towards the end of the battle, when the French troops fled – but return in a surprise attack, which wasn’t normal behavior, angered King Henrik who replied by ordering all captured Knights to be executed. As knights only killed in honor, this also created internal problems. The Knights were executed, which once and for all placed honor outside the battlefield. The honorable knights moved into politics instead and left the battlefields to become a bloody place thru history up to the end of World War II and the Geneva Convention, which finally restored honor to the battlefields. The Noble Knights were back in a modern form.

 


 
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